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Agency and Student Perception of a Law Enforcement Internship

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1984) Pages: 59-65
M J Palmiotto
Date Published
7 pages
Questionnaires completed by both agency supervisors of internships and law enforcement administration graduates who served an internship sponsored by Western Illinois University indicated that the internship program is perceived as beneficial by both students and agency personnel, but the survey results also indicate that improvements can be made.
The law enforcement graduates solicited for participation were those who graduated in December 1979, May 1980, August 1980, and December 1980. Of the 290 questionnaires mailed to graduates, 118 were returned. There were 172 questionnaires mailed to participating criminal justice agencies, with 118 returned. Both the students and agencies considered internships an extremely worthwhile learning experience. To students who had spent most of their lives acquiring information in an academic environment, the working environment was a refreshing change and an opportunity to become familiar with the practical aspects of work in their chosen fields. The agencies supported the internship program, viewing it as providing hands-on experience to students who would otherwise have only academic education. Most of the agencies used the students' talents in a positive manner; however, a few agencies appeared uncertain about the goals of an internship program, and some agency representatives feel threatened by internship students. To improve the program, the university internship coordinator might further clarify for agency coordinators the objectives and goals for student internships. An orientation session for interns by both agency and department coordinators could eliminate some misunderstanding about the internship tasks. Further, an exit interview should be conducted by the agency to obtain feedback from the interns. A formal class session for information exchange and agency evaluation by recent interns could also be established. Tabular data and 10 references are provided.